June 3, 2007

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15 Welcome to Trinity Sunday — the first Sunday after Pentecost each year. Trinity Sunday is unusual. Most of the special Sundays in the church year are about an event in time — Jesus being born (Christmas), the arrival of the wise men from the East (Epiphany),Jesus being baptized (Baptism of Jesus Sunday), Jesus being raised from the dead (Easter), the Holy Spirit being poured out on the church (Pentecost). But this special Sunday is not about celebrating a particular event or moment in salvation history. Instead, it’s about a doctrine. It’s about one of the foundational beliefs of the Christian Church. It’s about Trinity — the teaching that God is three, traditionally expressed as Father, Son, and Spirit, but that God is still just one God. Now apart from the fact that it’s very difficult to work out the math, it’s a difficult topic to preach about because the contours of the argument are extremely subtle. The greatest intellects in the world have had trouble with this one, so there’s not much chance of me explaining it this morning. We had a lovely morning last Saturday at the Women’s Breakfast at Smitty’s. About 20 women gathered for breakfast, conversation, and a little study. The women from McKercher had planned the bible study, and chosen the topic of Trinity. We began with one of those children’s story-type metaphors for understanding the Trinity. God is like an apple. It has skin, flesh, and … Read more »

May 30, 2010

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15 Welcome to Trinity Sunday. Every year, the first Sunday after Pentecost is marked as Trinity Sunday. I suppose it makes sense that after celebrating the great outpouring of the Holy Spirit onto the disciples of Jesus, it becomes necessary to start thinking about the nature of God. The God who was once experienced and known primarily as the holy and powerful lawgiver and judge, has been revealed to a group of Galilean Jews as a simple man from the town of Nazareth. That was shocking enough in itself – that many of the people who followed Jesus were saying that he was divine. It was the kind of faith statement that got people shouting “blasphemy!” at you, and it could get you in real trouble with the religious authorities. But now, since the day of Pentecost, God seemed to be present and active in a totally new way. God was somehow working through the disciples themselves… it was like God’s Spirit was within them… giving them wisdom and power and confidence to continue Jesus’ work. They were communicating with foreigners. They were preaching about Jesus. They were full of confidence and hope and love for everyone they met. Somehow, this was God at work in their lives. God was not only the Heavenly Father, Creator and Ruler of the universe. But God was Jesus the Christ, teaching, healing, welcoming, challenging, and redeeming the world. And God was moving and active, filling … Read more »

May 26, 2013

Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15 “A Little Lower than God” Reflecting on the beauty and wonder of God’s creation, the psalmist notices that the Lord has made human beings “a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honour.” There are different emphases within the scriptures, of course, and different perspectives within theology. Some ways of thinking about human nature emphasize the brokenness and sinfulness of human beings. And the good news of God in Jesus Christ is that we are not condemned for our failures, but when we repent and turn to God for help, we are forgiven and freed by the amazing grace of our loving God. But the perspective that seems to come out in today’s psalm is that human beings have great potential for goodness. God has made us “a little lower” than Godself – not perfect, but certainly capable of great things, great creativity, great responsibility. I don’t normally do a lot of quoting from the early Church Fathers in my sermons, but I’ve been reading a lot lately in preparation for the course I’ll be taking next week, and yesterday I just happened to read about Origen of Alexandria’s doctrine of humanity. Origen lived and contributed to the church tradition in the early 3rd century, and as I read his ideas about what it means to be human, they just seemed to fit so nicely with the ideas in today’s psalm: “He argued that God originally created a … Read more »

May 22, 2016

Listen to this Sermon Proverbs 8:1-4, 22-31 Psalm 8 Romans 5:1-5 John 16:12-15 “Joy of heaven to earth come down” Welcome to Trinity Sunday – the first Sunday after Pentecost each year. Trinity Sunday is unusual. Most of the special Sundays in the church year are about an event in time – Jesus being born (Christmas), the arrival of the wise men from the East (Epiphany), Jesus being baptized (Baptism of the Lord Sunday), Jesus being raised from the dead (Easter), the Holy Spirit being poured out on the church (Pentecost). But this special Sunday is not about celebrating a particular event or moment in salvation history. Instead, it’s about a doctrine. It’s about one of the foundational beliefs of the Christian Church. It’s about Trinity – the teaching that God is three, traditionally expressed as Father, Son, and Spirit, but that God is still just one God. Now apart from the fact that it’s very difficult to work out the math, it’s a difficult topic to preach about because the contours of the argument are extremely subtle. The greatest intellects in the world have had trouble with this one, so there’s not much chance of me explaining it this morning. I am thinking about the many conversations I’ve had over the years about the Trinity, and I’m especially remembering one that took place at the Women’s Breakfast some years ago. About 20 women gathered for breakfast, conversation, and a little study. The women from McKercher Presbyterian Church had planned … Read more »